Handmade Arcade, photo by Joey Kennedy.

A recently released list confirmed what many locals already know–that Pittsburgh is a great place to buy local.

A study by the website Yelp found that Pittsburgh is one of the top 20 cities in the US for shopping locally. The rankings were determined by searching millions of online Yelp reviews and seeing how many positive reviews for non-chain businesses mentioned the word “gift.”

Other cities on the list include San Diego, Austin and Denver.

In an online poll, Yelp also found that the average amount holiday shoppers plan to spend at local businesses increased by 26 percent from last year, from $258 to $324.

There’s no shortage of local businesses or craft fairs for Pittsburghers to spend their holiday dollars, whether it’s at the Lawrenceville-based gift shop Wildcard or at Handmade Arcade, a yearly event featuring more than 150 vendors selling jewelry, home goods, stationery and more.

Amanda Fenner of North Ave Candles credits the annual holiday I Made It! Market for initially connecting her with customers.

“It’s a launching pad for local small business,” says Fenner, who started out selling hand-poured soy candles from her North Side home.

In the four years since she founded North Ave Candles, Fenner has noticed a growing interest from the public and store owners in locally-produced products. Her candles are now carried by more than 20 establishments throughout Pittsburgh, including Songbird Artistry in Lawrenceville and Kards Unlimited in Shadyside. She also sells on Etsy and to places outside the city.

Pittsburgh has also seen a rise in independently-owned businesses such as the local bag company Moop, which recently moved into a Downtown retail space. Fenner cites the recent resurgence of independent bookshops in Pittsburgh, including Nine Stories and the reopening of City Books on the North Side, which also sells North Ave Candles.

“We have a good culture in Pittsburgh to be doing what we’re doing right now,” says Fenner.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.